July 28, 2011

Thinking of Cooler Weather

It is hard to think of cooler days and snow on the ground when it is 110 outside and rain hasn't fallen in weeks. Luckily, we have gotten some rain and I hope we will be able to follow that up with some cooler weather. But don't worry, cooler weather will get here. It always does.

What does that mean with our garden and high tunnels, it means it is time to start to transition to planting and starting seedlings. We started hundreds of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Napa Cabbage, Hanging basket tomatoes two weeks ago. This week we will be starting lettuce, cabbage, more Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy, Kale, and direct seeding green onions. This week we have put in the final planting of Zucchini and started 5 beds of carrots.

What will we have to offer this fall and winter. We are planning on having the following crops growing into this fall and winter.

Until it Freezes Outside:
Cucumbers, Okra, Zucchini, Green Beans, and Peppers.

Until Thanksgiving time (earlier or later depending on the weather)
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, peppers, and Zucchini

Until Christmas:
Romaine, Rouge D'Hiver Red Romaine, Red and Green Salad Bowl Lettuce, Red Sails, Black-Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, and Winter Density, All-Star Salad Mix, Tatsoi, Space and Tyee Spinach, Rubicon Napa Cabbage, Green and Red Cabbage, Winterbor Kale, Red Russian Kale, Napoli and Amarillio Carrots, Haikuri Turnips, Everbunching and Guardsman Green Onions, Lancelot Leeks, and Radishes.

Until we run out:
All lettuces, Carrots, Green Onions, Leeks and Spinach.

This year we also will be offering the following crops from storage:

Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, Delicita and Sweet Dumpling Winter Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Potatoes (maybe the heat has done some damage) Jams and Jellies, and Pork.

I hope it will be a productive fall. I know it is going to be challenging to get crops started, but I will pull out every trick in the book to make things work! I don't give up very easily and I always find a way to make things work. Sure there may be some late nights, early mornings and lots of weeds to pull but the best thing of all is to see the look on everyone's face when we deliver our orders and see the smiles of happy customer receiving the freshest, best tasting and healthiest food possible. It makes all the work worth while!

Stay Cool!

July 16, 2011

Moving on Down the Line

Today was moving day for M1.  This year we added another growing location for our movable buildings.  I finished the rails and slid the tunnel on down the hill. So far this year M1 has covered the home of Carrots (over wintered), Onions, Zucchini, now Tomatoes then Carrots to over winter.


July 13, 2011

More Round Zucchini

There comes a point in August where the amount of zucchini produced is greater than the need. You know, the point when the kids have a "chuck the squash" competition? Well, we aren't there yet.

But, we are having fun playing with the different shaped zucchini. People ask me which type of zucchini I use the most, and the answer is always, "whatever is left after market." Lately, that has been the round zucchini. Despite their great taste and fun shape, and because the plants are very prolific right now, we come home with mostly eight-ball, one-ball, and cue-ball zucchini. I think customers are just too afraid to try something new, when the ol' standby zucchini is right there and just as delicious.

You can use round zucchini the same way you use the "normal" zucchini. Shred it and bake bread, muffins, or cookies. Slice it and fry with your favorite spices. Saute it with just about any meat and a tomato-based sauce. Grill it with a little olive oil and top with shredded cheese. You are only limited by your imagination, and maybe your family's taste buds.

For all those who are brave enough to try them but not brave enough to go forward without a map, here are a few recipes specifically for the round zucchini:

Proven├žal Stuffed Zucchini

Herbed-Stuffed Zucchini 

Balsamic Stuffed Round Zucchini

Zucchini Rounds

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

And, Kalyn's Kitchen lists ten zucchini recipes. If that doesn't get your imagination cooking, nothing will.

July 5, 2011

Round Zucchini?!

Jay doesn't like to get bored. So, instead of just planting "normal" vegetables, he seeks out strange shapes and colors of typical vegetables. That's how we end up with purple and pink potatoes; purple, orange and yellow tomatoes; and zucchini of every shape and size.

One zucchini that many customers have asked about this year is the round ones. Eight ball, cue ball, and one ball zucchini are all round zucchini, with the same great zucchini taste but with a fun round shape. I usually have multiple customers asking, "What do you do with those?!"

You can prepare the round zucchini in the same manner that you would prepare the long, cylinder zucchini. One of our favorites is grilling them, but saute is also tasty.

For the Fourth of July, we decided to get creative and make a new recipe to share with you all:

Zucchini-Tomato Napoleon

3 one-ball, cue-ball, or eight-ball zucchini
3 large tomatoes
1 package of fresh mozzarella cheese
3-4 leaves of fresh basil
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Slice the zucchini into 1/4" to 1/3" slices.  Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill on a preheated grill at medium heat for 4 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, wash the tomatoes and slice into 1/4" to 1/3" slices. Also slice the mozzarella into 1/4" slices. Dice the basil. (If using dried basil, mix 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil.)

Now it's time to assemble. On each plate, put down one slice of zucchini, then one slice of mozzarella, next one slice of tomato, and finally another slice of zucchini. 

Sprinkle with basil and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Enjoy!
And, like most meals in my house, I like to re-purpose the leftovers. As an encore, I diced the leftover stacks and sauted them for a few minutes, until the cheese was melted. Then I stirred in some cooked angel hair pasta. Voila! Second meal with hardly any effort.